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Political Repression and Child Labor: Theory and Empirical Evidence

  • Sandro Maffei
  • Nikolai Raabe
  • Heinrich Ursprung

Most normative studies on child labor arrive at the conclusion that child labor is detrimental to social welfare. Child labor is, however, still prevalent in many developing countries even though in many of these countries it is forbidden by law. In this paper we develop a political-economic model that explains lenient enforcement of existing child labor legislation. The most important implication of our model is that in countries with repressive political regimes enforcement is more lenient and child labor thus more prevalent than in countries enjoying political freedom. We test this implication and find that it is confirmed by the data.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2004/wp-cesifo-2004-09/cesifo1_wp1288.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1288.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1288
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  1. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
  2. Busse, Matthias, 2003. "Democracy and FDI," HWWA Discussion Papers 220, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  3. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  4. Bretschger, Lucas & Hettich, Frank, 2000. "Globalisation, capital mobility and tax competition: Theory and evidence for OECD countries," Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Diskussionspapiere 07/2000, Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald, Faculty of Law and Economics.
  5. Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans, 2009. "Child Labor And The Education Of A Society," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 220-249, April.
  6. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
  7. Philipp Harms & Heinrich Ursprung, 2001. "Do Civil and Political Repression Really Boost Foreign Direct Investments?," CESifo Working Paper Series 421, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Alessandro Cigno & Furio C. Rosati, 2007. "Why do Indian Children Work, and is it Bad for Them?," Working Papers id:1252, eSocialSciences.
  9. Dessy, Sylvain E. & Pallage, Stephane, 2001. "Child labor and coordination failures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 469-476, August.
  10. de Haan, Jakob, 2003. "Economic freedom: editor's introduction," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 395-403, September.
  11. Parsons, Donald O & Goldin, Claudia, 1989. "Parental Altruism and Self-Interest: Child Labor among Late Nineteenth-Century American Families," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(4), pages 637-59, October.
  12. Robert C. Shelburne, 2001. "An Explanation of the International Variation in the Prevalence of Child Labour," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 359-378, 03.
  13. Gupta, Manash Ranjan, 2000. "Wage Determination of a Child Worker: A Theoretical Analysis," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 219-28, June.
  14. Ranjan, Priya, 1999. "An economic analysis of child labor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 99-105, July.
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